Khimki torches Olympiacos in pivotal game
Khimki Moscow Region played a near-perfect game on Thursday to rout Olympiacos Piraeus 98-66 in an important game with playoff implications. Petteri Koponen came off the bench to make 5 of 7 three-pointers for 21 points in 17 minutes, Alexey Shved also drilled 5 threes and scored 19 and James Augustine posted 18 points and 10 rebounds for Khimki, which improved to 7-6 and increased its playoff chances. Olympiacos fell to 6-7 and is no longer in control of its own destiny. Olympiacos held a 2-point advantage in the second quarter before Shved connected on 4 threes in a 17-2 run and the Reds never recovered. The difference was 12 at halftime, reached the 20s in the third quarter and peaked at 36 in the fourth. Tyler Honeycutt added 8 points and 8 rebounds for Khimki. Othello Hunter scored 14 for Olympiacos.
First quarter: Koponen shoots hosts in front
Khimki went inside to Augustine and Olympiacos to Hunter for the game’s first baskets. Shved’s triple and Tyrese Rice’s layup through the Reds’ defense gave the hosts a 7-2 start. Hunter dunked again before Vangelis Mantzaris tied it with a triple. Shved’s baseline drive soon had Khimki back in front. Kostas Papaniklaou evened things with a steal and layup, however Augustine found himself open outside and buried a jumper to make it 11-9. After the TV timeout, Sergey Monia nailed a foul-line jumper. Papanikolaou scored an easy layup on an inbounds play, however Zoran Dragic connected from downtown. Georgios Printezis scored on the offensive glass to keep the Reds close. Koponen and Printezis traded threes before Hunter made it a 1-point game with a fast break layup. Josh Boone took control on the offensive glass to keep Khimki on top until Spanoulis tied it with a three from the top of the key. Printezis split free throws to give Olympiacos its first lead, but Koponen matched him and then nailed a triple in the dying second of the quarter for a 25-22 edge.
Second quarter: Shved heats up and fuels Khimki run
Daniel Hackett buried an open three to tie it on the first play of the quarter. Boone and Hakim Warrick traded jumpers. After Boone scored inside, Warrick drew a foul at the other end and split free throws. Ioannis Papapetrou took charge with a block at one end and a basket-plus-foul on the other for a 29-31 Olympiacos lead. However back-to-back threes by Shved put the home team back in control. After an Olympiacos timeout, Warrick put in his own miss, but Shved connected on another three to make it 38-33 midway through the quarter. Honeycutt added a triple of his own from the corner and Augustine’s put-back plus-foul made it a double-digit advantage. Shevd drilled his fifth three of the night to cap a 17-2 charge. Papanikolaou ended the Olympiacos drought with a free throw with two minutes left in the corner, but Shved found a cutting Augustine for a layup. Papanikolaou turned a rejection into a layup in the final seconds of the half to get within 48-36.
Third quarter: Augustine, Honeycutt push the difference to the 20s
Dragic drove, drew a defender and dished to Augustine for an easy layup to open the second half scoring. Hunter missed a dunk and Augustine scored twice more for an 18-point lead, at which point Olympiacos called timeout. A Mantzaris-to-Hunter alley-oop slam and free throws by Mantzaris and Spanoulis revived the Reds. However Augustine threw in a hook over Hunter and Koponen connected on a triple. After a tip-in from hunter, Monia made it 62-44 with a three. Mantzaris drove for a basket-plus-foul, but an Egor Vyaltsev jumper and Honeycutt triple prompted an Olympiacos timeout at 67-47. Koponen picked off Spanoulis’s pass and took it for a layup. Despite Printezis’s free throws, the momentum remained with Khimki. Boone scored inside, Honeycutt nailed a jumper and Koponen ended the quarter with a step-back jumper that made it 76-50.
Fourth quarter: Koponen ices the game with a pair of triples
Koponen made his fourth three-pointer at the start of the quarter. After Warrick sank 2 free throws, Koponen made another triple to establish a 30-point advantage. Hackett hit a jumper and continued to play hard on defense, but Khimki had shifted into cruise control. The lead only swelled on a basket by Monia and three-point play by Dragic. Hunter and Rice traded free throws and Hunter added another basket on the offensive glass. Shved made free throws to establish the biggest lead of the game at 94-58. Shved played hard till the end with a block in the final minute as Khimki strolled to a historic victory.
Thursday, March 31, 2016